I discovered some fascinating facts about ancient laws relating to pin money
- When pin money is given to, but not spent by the wife, on his death it belongs to his estate.
- In the French law the term Epingles, pins, is used to designate the present which is sometimes given by the purchaser of lands to the wife or daughters of the seller to induce them to consent to the sale.
- In England it was once adjudged that a promise to a wife, by the purchaser, that if she would not hinder the bargain for the sale of the husband's lands, he would give her ten pounds, was valid.
- It has been conjectured that the term pin money, has been applied to signify the provision for a married woman, because anciently there was a tax laid for providing the Queen with pins.
Then I looked deeper into the history of pin manufacturer. Since their ancient beginnings, human beings have devised methods for securing cloth together. Prehistoric people used thorns as pins. The use of iron wire began as early as the fifteenth century in France. Descriptions of a tailor's equipment from Spanish books dating back to this period included the mention of pins. A "paper of pins" became a familiar cultural phrase, signifying the possessions of the simplest nature.
At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, economist Adam Smith employed the imagery of a pin factory as the perfect example of the intricate division of labour. In his book, Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, Smith described how one worker drew out the wire, another straightened it, a third cut the wire, the fourth sharpened one end, and another worker ground the opposite end for the attachment of the head. At the end of the process, the pins were polished and inserted into paper packets. These early pin factories produced just under 5,000 pins per day. Such a factory was Taylers in Birmingham.
Attaching the heads presented a particular challenge. In the mid-1800s, British inventors Lemuel Wright and Daniel Foote-Taylor patented machines that produced pins with a solid head from a single piece of wire. By 1900 they were churning out 12 million pins a day! D F Tayler's company joined with Newey's haberdashery supplies just after WW2
All through my childhood, I watched my grandmother sewing, and she kept her pins in a little blue tin. Made by D F Tayler, it was part of their 'Dorcas' range. Nana explained about Dorcas, who used her sewing gifts to bless other people [Acts 9] This lady [also known as Tabitha] became one of my heroines.
By the time I started dressmaking properly at secondary school, I just bought a 'paper of pins' from Woolworths. I always wanted- but never owned, a proper Dorcas tin.
I did get some Dorcas pins later- but by then they were in a tacky plastic container, which soon cracked.
On Saturday I was helping Jim's cleaner to get his place ready for Sunday's birthday visitors when I found a Dorcas tin, with 3 curtain hooks in it. "Ooh, my gran had one of these, I have always wanted one for my dressmaking pins"
Later on Jim came round - and insisted I have the tin - he was really pleased to think I would be able to use it for its original purpose.
I am one very happy little dressmaker! Thank you Jim - I shall treasure this.